Monday, February 04, 2008

Bush's Final Spending Plan

Today, President George W. Bush revealed his final spending plan for the U.S. fiscal year 2009 budget – a whopping $3.1 trillion. The budget includes increased military spending and protects Bush’s tax cuts. According to the Washington Post article:

“The spending proposal, which shows the government spending $3 trillion in a 12-month period for the first time in history, squeezes most of government outside of national security, and also seeks $196 billion in savings over the next five years in the government's giant health care programs – Medicare for the elderly and Medicaid for the poor.

“Even with those savings, Bush projects that the deficits, which had been declining, will soar to near-record levels, hitting $410 billion this year and $407 billion in 2009. The all-time high deficit in dollar terms was $413 billion in 2004.”

While the full line-item budget and breakdown is not yet available online, the “Department of State and Other International Programs” budget so far only includes Iran-related funding in the proposed spending for the Broadcasting Board of Governors. There are no other direct references to Iran in the other budget outlines. Here is the description for the $699 million for the Broadcasting Board of Governors (page 2):

Continues international broadcasting. $699 million for the Broadcasting Board of Governors to provide accurate and objective news and information about the United States and the world to international audiences via television, radio, and the Internet with a continued focus on broadcasting throughout the Middle East and to people living under tyranny in North Korea, Burma, Iran, and Cuba.”
I am sure more budget details will be revealed soon and I will post Iran-related measures, particularly when details are revealed about the "Economic Support Fund" and the "Education and Cultural Exchange Programs," both of which had Iran-related funding in the previous year. Both programs also have a projected increase in spending over fiscal years 2007 and 2008.

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